Clarity and transparency now provided for the sentencing of offenders with mental disorders, developmental disorders or neurological impairments

BCL Solicitors’ Daniel Jackson reviews the recently published sentencing guideline for offenders with mental disorders, developmental disorders, or neurological impairments, which is effective from 1 October 2020.  Introduction The coronavirus pandemic has impacted on us all to differing degrees and presented extra challenges. One aspect, experienced by many, is the affect that the enforced changes…Continue Reading

A virtual judicial system: could COVID-19 change the way we work forever?

During the first week of lockdown, as we were all suddenly launched into a world lacking human contact and increasing conversations with our screens, I represented a client at the Supreme Court’s first ever remote hearing – Fowler v HMRC https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2018-0226.html. It is a case I have been running for the best part of 10…Continue Reading

A Northern Uni Bar Society

The Bar Professional Training Course is famed as a laborious nine months. As the newly elected President of the Junior Barristers Society at Leeds Beckett University (2019-2020), I wanted to introduce elements of the advocacy module of the BPTC along with a structured understanding of the pathway from Uni to the Bar, by setting up…Continue Reading

Regulation of experts.  Is the proposed cure worse than the disease?

The House of Lords Select Committee on Science & Technology recently published a report1 with a recommendation to provide the Forensic Science Regulator with statutory powers.  We disagree that this ‘solution’ is proportionate, necessary or adequate.  The report states, “The evidence we received points to failings in the use of forensic science in the criminal justice…Continue Reading

A virtual judicial system: could COVID-19 change the way we work forever?

During the first week of lockdown, as we were all suddenly launched into a world lacking human contact and increasing conversations with our screens, I represented a client at the Supreme Court’s first ever remote hearing – Fowler v HMRC https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/uksc-2018-0226.html. It is a case I have been running for the best part of 10…Continue Reading

Regulation of experts.  Is the proposed cure worse than the disease?

The House of Lords Select Committee on Science & Technology recently published a report1 with a recommendation to provide the Forensic Science Regulator with statutory powers.  We disagree that this ‘solution’ is proportionate, necessary or adequate.  The report states, “The evidence we received points to failings in the use of forensic science in the criminal justice…Continue Reading

The New Normal

  When I was asked to write an article back at the beginning of March about new ideas or innovation in my capacity of CEO of Quartz Barristers, the world was a very different place. A distant ‘normal’ and somewhere I do not think we will ever return, and perhaps in some ways, a place…Continue Reading

Is there an “existential threat” to barristers”

The Bar Council conducted a survey recently of chambers nationally, and got 157 replies.  Their report makes worrying reading, because they see an “existential threat” to barristers generally. Their findings show that regional chambers have been affected worse by the pandemic crisis than London ones, and that 31% of regional sets believe they will collapse…Continue Reading

COVID-19 In Prisons – A Major Public Health Risk

  The coronavirus pandemic presents formidable challenges for prisons worldwide – challenges they will struggle to meet, with potentially grave consequences for the health of prisoners, prison staff, their families, and all of us. This is a fast-moving situation: since the outbreak was declared a pandemic on 12 March, prisoners and prison staff have tested…Continue Reading

Probability and the law

What constitutes a reasonable doubt? The Mail on Sunday and its polemical columnist Peter Hitchens have raised the question again, deploring the recent guidance that encourages judges to frame the issue for juries as ‘are you sure?’ As various commentators have pointed out, this interpretation appeared in the 2010 Crown Court Compendium but has a…Continue Reading

Harry Dunn: UK-US diplomatic relations strained  

On 11th May, an INTERPOL Red Notice was circulated against US citizen Anne Sacoolas, marking the latest development in the ongoing battle by the family of Harry Dunn to have Sacoolas returned to the UK to face prosecution for causing his death by dangerous driving. The case continues to highlight significant concerns over the operation…Continue Reading

Managing your chambers – a choice 

  Much will be written, and many comments made about how different chambers respond to the new norm as we come out of this pandemic. Given the economic backdrop, the choices that individual chambers make will be key. Over the course of the last two decades many barristers’ chambers have adopted a more “managerial “approach…Continue Reading

Family court gridlock and online hearings

Remote hearings have rapidly become ‘the new normal’ in family justice. There are a plethora of remote platforms; an ever-evolving array of judicial guidance and an increasing number of Court of Appeal[1] and High Court[2] decisions for each of us to interpret on any given day. The pandemic has forced the profession to adapt at…Continue Reading

Coronavirus, Chambers and the Bar

My chambers has worked remotely for over eight weeks now. Kings Chambers covers a wide range of civil litigation but not family or criminal law. Our offices are in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. Apart from ten furloughed staff, who are all being paid in full, all 160 barristers and employees, including four pupils, are working…Continue Reading

Drama in the courtroom: Defending the rights of children diagnosed with autism

Abstract   Children diagnosed with autism have the right to access evidence-based practices that are necessary for their education and welfare. Oftentimes, parents of these children are not satisfied with the education provided by the State and they challenge education or health authorities in tribunals. Usually, these tribunal hearings revolve around the inclusion/exclusion of the…Continue Reading

Operating companies & Covid-19: Beware of tomorrow’s litigation!

  The news of Covid-19 lawsuits being filed is spreading around the world.  In France, the latest news is that some employees of Amazon have filed a criminal complaint for manslaughter, stating that they are not sufficiently protected against the risk of developing Covid-19.  In the United States, Walmart is the target of the first…Continue Reading

Examining Expert Evidence

This article considers how to deal with expert evidence when the other side discloses it during the course of litigation. The issue is that many advocates, particularly those who are junior (or those like myself are commencing their second sixth), may not challenge the expert sufficiently in order to test his evidence. This might be…Continue Reading

On Interpretation and Judging

I have written extensively about legal issues and indeed questions of interpretation of legal texts. There is a much-cited article of mine in the Irish Bar Review on Historical Interpretation of the Constitution of Ireland. Or at least much cited in Ireland. Over time this knowledge base has deepened, and I believe the key to…Continue Reading

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